What is Leadership in Children’s Ministry?

What is Leadership in Children’s Ministry?

Children's Ministry Leadership

What, exactly, is leadership in Children’s Ministry?

Too many of us who should be leading are either not leading at all, or not leading well. In many cases we’re just managers, and there’s a big difference (more on that in a minute).

My definition of Children’s Ministry leadership is this:

Children’s Ministry leadership is the capacity to influence others toward the pursuit of the vision of partnering with parents to guide kids toward a HEART for God.

Let’s break that down a little big:

  • the capacity to influence others. Influence, by definition, means “the capacity…to produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions of others.” Basically, it’s the ability to persuade (not manipulate) others that they really do want to do something, or that something is good or worthy of investment of their time, resources or energy (or all three).
  • toward the pursuit of the vision. Before this can happen you have to have a vision. Too many of the “leaders” in churches we work with are just happy to get through Sunday – that’s pretty much the extent of their vision. Once a worthy vision is present, the leader has the capacity to communicate (cast) that vision to others in a many that influences them to whole-heartedly participate in the pursuit of that vision.

That leadership in Children’s Ministry.

Does that describe you? If you are a children’s pastor/director, it should. At the very least it should represent who you are becoming. This is why leadership matters in Children’s Ministry. It matters because we need to be pursuing a worthy vision and we, as leaders, need to be able to influence others to join us in that pursuit. It’s why I bought in to what my former boss, John Maxwell, always says: Everything rises and falls on leadership. 

So if we are not really leading, what are we doing? Most likely we are managing.  Here’s my definition of management:

Management is the ability to coordinate the efforts of those pursuing a worthy vision. 

Do you see the difference? Basically, the difference is coordinating versus influencing. Many of us who should be influencing spend far too much of our time coordinating.  In reality, coordinating usually should be done by somebody else. The main problem? Coordinating is easier. Leading is hard. Coordinating takes less flack. Leaders are targets for criticism. Coordinators have to think less. Leaders have to create. You get the idea. There is a place for both, and should be assigned according to the giftedness of the individual. Additionally, there is an element to managing in leadership, and an element of leadership in managing.

If God has called you and placed you in a position of Children’s Ministry Leadership, then by all means, please lead. Take the responsibility to equip yourself, develop leaders around you, and pursue that vision that God has placed on your heart to partner with parents to guide kids toward a heart for God! 

THAT is Children’s Ministry leadership!

Do you agree or disagree with this definition of Children’s Ministry leadership?

(please share in comments below)

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Greg Baird
Founder of Children's Ministry Leader & Vice President of Global Resources at David C Cook
The most important thing to know about me is that I am blessed beyond measure to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, to have married way over my head to my wife, Michele, and that I have two incredible grown sons named Taylor and Garret.

I serve as the Vice President of Global Resources in the Global Mission department at David C. Cook.

I love what I do as it is the outflow of 25 years of ministry experience as Children’s, Family & Administrative Pastor, consultant, trainer, speaker and short-term missions leader.

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